10th October 2022

Celebrating Black History Month with Virgil Amponsah

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, we speak to Virgil Amponsah, a Graduate Engineer working on a project in the South-East.

Virgil joined Sir Robert McAlpine’s graduate programme in 2021 after graduating from Brunel University. He shares insights into his career and why Black History Month matters to him. 

Virgil's responsibilities on-site include quality assurance ofGraduate Programme in Birmingham the reinforced concrete frame and conducting inspections before and after each concrete pour. He is also involved with geospatial engineering, ensuring elements are built in the correct positions by setting out and surveying the accuracy of each component. As part of the graduate programme, he receives additional training and support to develop his skills and grow his career.  

“What motivates me is achieving important milestones. It is a measure of hard work and dedication to the project, and motivates me further as we continue to make progress.” 

Virgil spent two weeks in Birmingham with his graduate cohort (pictured right), where they all participated in the graduate ‘Introduction to Construction’ course. They went to a local college and got to experience and learn the different trades, including carpentry, steel fixing, drainage, brick/blockwork, and using a variety of plant machinery. Virgil said this has been a highlight so far, and a fun and engaging way to get an understanding of what the various trades do on our sites.  

“It became a good break away from our daily roles as it gave me a greater understanding of managing a trade, conducting works, and developing useful skills.” 

When it comes to Black History Month, Virgil is keen to share why it matters.

Black History Month is important to me because it recognises how black lives have influenced the world and our contributions to society. It is a time to acknowledge and educate others to show how black people have always been at a disadvantage, not receiving equality and people not accepting diversity. It becomes disheartening to me to see how black people get abused in ways you cannot imagine. The famous speech by Martin Luther King, ‘I have a dream’ empowered a nation to end racism and became a worldwide call to action, encouraging everyone to unite and eradicate discrimination. He is a powerful example of an individual that changed society and made it what it is today.

Virgil feels supported by his project team. He highlights how welcoming everyone has been, encouraging conversations and sharing information with one another about their personal backgrounds and professional lives, all with the view to continually build rapport.   

“My team values the qualities I bring to the project and holding myself accountable with my work. They aim to develop my working ability and interactions by giving me opportunities that are relevant to my job role.” 

Virgil says the values of Sir Robert McAlpine bring together a sense of community, driving exceptional quality and creating a safe working culture.  

“Sir Robert McAlpine has produced some amazing projects, with many spectacular ones in the pipeline. It remains a great company to kickstart your construction career as a young person, giving you the necessary training to carry out your role whilst offering decent flexibility and benefits for all staff. The workplace culture focuses on a good work life balance and the business operating within a family ethos.”   

To find out more about our Early Careers opportunities, please click here.

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